09/21/2007, 00.00
VATICAN – CHINA
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Bishop Li Shan in communion with Pope, reports the Osservatore Romano

The Vatican paper says that both the new bishop of Beijing and the new coadjutor of Guiyang Mgr Paul Xiao Zejiang, ordained on September 8, “were recommended to the Holy See by their respective local Catholic communities as worthy and qualified.” Some regrets are expressed with regard to the presence of some prelates not in communion with Rome. Still the wish is strong that through “respectful dialogue” difficulties might be overcome.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The new bishop of Beijing, Mgr Joseph Li Shan, ordained today and the coadjutor of Guiyang, Mgr Paul Xiao Zejiang, ordained on September 8, are both “in communion with the Pope and recognised by the government,” this according to the Osservatore Romano which reported on behalf of the Vatican the expected news about the full relationship between the two new bishops and the Holy See.

In reporting the event the Vatican paper said the new bishops had received the approval of the Holy See. “The two priests,” it read, “were recommended to the Holy See by their respective local Catholic communities as worthy and qualified candidates.”

The paper noted that other bishops “in communion with the Pope and recognised by the government” were present at the ordinations,” regretting though “the participation in the sacramental rite of some bishops not in communion with the Holy See.”

“All the consecrating prelates are in communion with the Pope,” the paper wrote, “and are recognised by the government. Hundreds of faithful attended both religious ceremonies. Informed that the Pope was conceding communion to Mgr Xiao and Mgr Li, the Catholic communities of Guiyang and Beijing festively surrounded the new pastors; regretfully some bishops not in communion with the Holy See participated in the sacramental rite.”

The Osservatore Romano then expressed the “wish that every diocese might have worthy and qualified pastors who can live in full communion with the Catholic Church and Peter’s Successor, and who can announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Chinese people.”

Finally, the Vatican paper noted that “Catholics in China and around the world” are praying to turn what Benedict XVI wrote in June in his Letter to Chinese Catholics into reality, i.e. his “earnest wish that in the course of a respectful and open dialogue between the Holy See and the Chinese Bishops on the one hand, and the governmental authorities on the other, the difficulties mentioned may be overcome and thus a fruitful understanding may be reached that will prove beneficial to the Catholic community and to social cohesion.”

News about the communion between the new bishop of Beijing and the Holy See started circulating the day after his election, July 16. On the 18 Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said that the bishop was “a very good and qualified individual" and that his appointment was "a very positive sign."

Unconfirmed reports also suggest that Benedict XVI gave Mgr Li a pectoral cross.

PHOTO: AsiaNews

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